For hospitals across the country, the pandemic reinforced the need to improve patient care by moving electronic health records (EHRs) from datacenters to the cloud for greater agility, security, and scalability. Modernization goals progressed during the past two years—driven by the impact of COVID-19, costs, and pressures—accelerating digital transformation. At Microsoft, we kept pace by collaborating with customers to migrate their EHRs to the cloud with Azure.
The combination of a strong network of partners who share Microsoft’s deep commitment and a continued investment to increase Azure capabilities allowed all of us to grow. We can now support 85 percent of all US healthcare providers in moving their electronic records to our trusted, flexible, and compliant cloud—and we’re focused on reaching 100 percent soon.
Health and Life Sciences (HLS) began seeing the EHR cloud-first strategy emerge in 2017 and quickly escalate from 2020 on. With more than 250 million patients having a current electronic record in Epic, we recognized early on the importance of supporting customers of the nation’s largest EHR system to move their critical assets to Azure.
Legacy Health, one of the largest community-owned nonprofit healthcare systems in the Portland, Oregon area, was among the first providers to move forward with its Epic on Azure implementation. Instead of managing the servers, software, heating, cooling, generators, and everything related to its previous electronic records system, Legacy Health built a live hybrid and disaster recovery environment. It delivered better reliability and availability, a 65 percent reduction in costs, and enhanced patient care. “We created the opportunity to focus on the core business and value-added services instead of all the time-consuming base infrastructure,” said Jeff Olson, Legacy Health’s IS Technical Director. “All by moving our disaster recovery to a product like Azure.”
Scalability and security
That same dedication to patients led St. Luke’s University Health Network, headquartered in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to create an innovation center embracing Microsoft tools to help transform how employees administer exceptional care in its 12 hospitals and more than 300 outpatient sites. In addition to transforming its collaboration tools and techniques using Microsoft Teams and moving to Dynamics 365 for improved insights into patient needs, St. Luke’s made it a top priority to transition its EHR system—including three million patient records in 20 environments—to the cloud. “We evaluated many different options for modernizing EHR management,” said Chris Brisendine, St. Luke’s Vice President, and CIO. “We moved everything to Epic on Azure because we wanted the scalability and level of security it offers.”
Disaster recovery also played a critical role in the decision-making process. “Good disaster recovery is so important,” added Brisendine, who also chose the Azure cloud platform for its automation capabilities, which help streamline maintenance tasks like patching.
Please join us on March 29 for Accelerate your path to intelligent healthcare with Epic on Azure, a webinar where you’ll learn about St. Luke’s migration, gain insights to begin your deployment plan, discover the advantages of moving to Azure, and more.
Improving agility and modernization
The rapid momentum for Epic on Azure continues with the recent news that Accenture and Microsoft will assist Mount Sinai in a five-year transformation journey to the cloud, including its Epic EHR system. “We are reinforcing our commitment to innovation and supporting our mission by working with Accenture and Microsoft—two technology and cloud leaders—to improve the agility and the modernization of our technology estate,” said Kristin Myers, Executive Vice President, CIO, and Dean for Information Technology of New York City’s largest academic medical system. “This will serve as the bedrock for creating new solutions and responding to advancing clinical, research, and technology needs.”
Epic approval for Silk
Another welcome acknowledgment of the HLS approach comes from our partner, Silk, receiving Epic’s approval to support EHR migrations to Azure for the largest US healthcare providers. This news prepares the way for Microsoft to address more of the overall EHR market, which was valued at $29.5 billion in 2020, with projected growth to $46.4 billion by 2027. For Sentara Health’s system of 12 hospitals in Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina, Silk on Azure was the clear choice. “The performance of Silk on Azure could not be met by any other cloud solution for our most intense workloads, including our EHR,” said Matt Douglas, Sentara’s Chief Architect. “Silk and Azure offer a powerful combination for complex workloads on the cloud.”
Delivering greater value
Our Epic on Azure leadership reflects the latest example of how Microsoft delivers greater value to customers by:
- Reducing the complexity of infrastructure management.
- Providing a secure, scalable, agile, and high-performing solution.
- Optimizing costs.
- Advancing AI and machine learning opportunities.
It also shows how we live our mission to empower the health and life sciences community to achieve more for all of us. For more information, please see the following resources about Microsoft healthcare solutions:
- Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare | Microsoft
- Healthcare Payor & Insurer Solutions | Microsoft Industry
- Pharmaceutical Solutions and Life Sciences | Microsoft Industry
- Azure for Healthcare—Healthcare Solutions | Microsoft Azure
- Microsoft 365 and Healthcare | Microsoft
- Healthcare Solutions for Healthcare Workers | Microsoft Teams
- Global Healthcare Provider Solutions | Microsoft Industry
- Healthcare Solutions for Care Coordination | Microsoft Industry.
 “Electronic Health Record (EHR) Market Size – Forecast Report 2027 (gminsights.com),” Global Market Insights, accessed on March 2022.